Significant improvements in the management of timesheets have been made through on-line systems that require employees to input their hours worked, absent hours (vacation, sick or other absence), overtime hours, premium hours and other employee work metrics. This allows a company or organization the ability to manage their employees’ worked hours no matter where they are performed, i.e. working in a home office, a client’s office, or around the world.
No matter how proficient the timesheet management system is, it is extremely important to develop organizational policies to assist employees and payroll personnel or managers in completing and processing timesheets in an accurate and efficient manner.
Write a Policy outlining how to complete timesheets:
This policy should clearly and simply outline the steps required to accurately and timely complete a timesheet. The intent is that the instructions are clear and the employee knows that he/she can seek clarity and support when required. A good policy will mitigate timesheet amendments resulting in fewer paid re-work hours thus increasing the productivity of the payroll staff. Review the policy with the Human Resource Department to make sure it is comprehensive and outlines consequences clearly to employees. Ideally, the policy or revised policy will need the support of senior management including Human Resources so that it can be implemented in a timely manner.
Ensure that orientation of all new employees includes instruction and guidance on completing the timesheet. Emphasize to the new recruits that it is important that they learn how to accurately complete the timesheet in order to be paid correctly. Many companies and organizations hold orientation sessions that walk the new recruits through a timesheet example, so they have the opportunity to ask questions to ensure that they can correctly follow the instructions. Emphasize to new employees that their performance reviews will include compliance to completion of timesheets on time and its accuracy. They should understand that redoing payroll is arduous and expensive. In addition, they should be told that incomplete timesheets will be documented and reviewed with them as part of their performance review.
Existing timesheet management policies and new policy will need to be reviewed with current employees to ensure that they are educated regarding timesheet completion instructions. Current employees should be given an opportunity to review old or new instructions with support from their managers. Reviews can be done at staff meetings or by organizing timesheet completion in-services. In fact some organizations have undertaken compulsory timesheet education projects for all staff following poor compliance rates.
New or revised instruction of completion of timesheets should be put up in common areas, i.e. lunch and staff rooms, so that employees can easily review.
It is important that employees understand that the company is serious and there will be consequences; however, they will be supported in order to meet their timesheet requirements.
Lastly, it is important that all payroll staff and managers are well versed on a revised timeline management policy before implementing a change with employees. They should also work closely to ensure that existing policies are revised when required with the introduction of a new time and attendance system.